Hundreds of retail workers marched outside Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton’s Manhattan apartment building on Thursday in a demand for higher wages.
Protesters are calling for a $US15 minimum wage, up from the current federal minimum wage of $US7.25.
Protesters began crowding the sidewalks outside Walton’s $US25 million apartment at 515 Park Avenue around noon. An hour later, several demonstrators moved into the street and sat down in a line to block traffic.
Police made more than two dozen arrests, according to organisers.
Meanwhile, in D.C., another group of protesters blocked traffic at the intersection of 18th and K streets, where the Waltons’ charitable foundation has an office.
Here’s an aerial view of those protests:
The demonstrations were organised by the labour groups OUR Walmart and the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
OUR Walmart was launched three years ago following a series of unsuccessful attempts to unionize Wal-Mart’s employees.
Since its founding, the group has been helping workers organise and stage demonstrations at Wal-Mart stores across the country — most notably on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
In addition to calling for better pay, the group is also demanding more regular scheduling, as well as full-time hours for more employees.
Wal-Mart says fewer than 6,000 employees of its 1.3 million U.S. workforce are paid minimum wage, and that the company intends to increase those employees’ pay over time.
“We only have a few thousand associates in the U.S., less than 6,000 of our 1.3 million associates in the U.S., that currently make a minimum wage and it is our intention over time that we will be in a situation where we don’t pay minimum wage at all,” Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said Wednesday following an investor conference.
The average hourly pay for Wal-Mart’s full-time employees is $US12.92, according to the company.
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